PHD 9.0 helps connect advertising students and their research on Gen-Z with professional agency executives

Seven senior advertising majors comprised Grady College’s team of researchers who presented to executives and staff from PHD Media Worldwide, a global communications planning and media buying agency. This is the ninth year of the PHD Media and Grady College partnership.

The team of advertising students consisted of Jordan Callaway, Mary Kate Hayes, Jayda Hill, Kevin Jones, Cori Lowenstein, Olamide Ogunjobi and Spencer Williams.

The participating students were selected through a competitive interview process in October 2019 and received a scholarship from PHD for their participation. Many previous participants have landed jobs through the program.

PHD 9.0 directed the students to provide information on how communicators can connect with Generation-Z. PHD gave the student team six question areas to choose from and asked them to do a deep dive into four.

“We choose the topics that we felt like would be great topics for interviews with our friends and classmates,” said Hill. “Those topics were femvertising, gaming, brands that take a stand, and fake news and distrust.”

Students and instructors collaborated remotely via video conference to prep for the PHD Media presentation.

The presentation is typically in-person at PHD Media’s New York office, but was done via videoconference this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The year did not go as anticipated, but we were still able to conduct research and collaborate on creating a presentation,” Lowenstein said. “Learning how to work remotely is a valuable skill, and I plan to talk about this unique experience in future interviews.”

The team of Grady College students received warm compliments from PHD Media executives, including from Avin Narasimhan, U.S. head of communications planning at PHD and the primary contact for the advertising students.

“The students did a wonderful job, as always, and we’ve been hearing lots of positive feedback from across the agency,” Narasimhan said after the presentation in May.

While a virtual presentation provided many challenges, it also enabled more executives to view the students’ work. At one point, more than 90 PHD media executives from around the nation were on the video conference.

Students credit Karen King, a Jim Kennedy New Media Professor, for leading them through the disrupted spring semester and helping adapt to virtual teamwork.

“Dr. King was such a pleasure to work with,” Lowenstein said. “She made working remotely so pleasant and really helped the team grow.”

King has led each group of Grady students through the existence of the partnership with PHD Media.

“This has been one of my favorite experiential learning opportunities I have worked on in the Grady ADPR department,” King said. “The students are bright, motivated, enthusiastically embrace the challenges and learn to look for the insights.”

King says the research and exposure into the media planning and strategy has inspired students to pursue careers as media, strategy and programmatic buying at places like PHD, Facebook, Google, Mindshare, Moxie, and other similar ad and media agencies.

“For me personally, I want to be a strategist at an advertising agency,” Hill said. “This experience has taught me to think like a strategist, conduct proper interviews and gather results that lead brands to better understand their consumers”

Part of the students’ presentation can be viewed here.

Grady College celebrates retiring faculty Karen King and Leara Rhodes

Grady College proudly recognizes faculty members Karen King and Leara Rhodes as they embark on retirement.

Karen King, a Jim Kennedy New Media Professor, specialized in advertising media and campaigns. She began teaching at Grady College in 1985 and served two stints as advertising and public relations department head. King’s research centers around health communications and advertising industry issues.

Karen King (center front) and their campaigns students at the AAF competition in 1999 in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo: submitted)

Prior to Grady College, King worked as a media planner, research supervisor for FCB Communications, Inc. in Chicago  and visiting researcher for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She earned her bachelor’s, graduate, and doctoral degrees from the University of Illinois, Urbana.

King recently established the Karen W. and Daniel J. King Distinguished Professorship in Advertising.

“Karen King’s contributions to the college span decades, and scores of students who have told me personally that she changed their lives,” said Charles Davis, Grady College dean. “I can’t tell you how many times an alum has written me or stopped me at a Grady event to tell me that Dr. King was “their” professor, that one who they stayed in touch with through the years, who they called with big news, and who helped shape their careers.”

Multiple generations of students have had opportunities in the advertising field because of Karen King’s dedication to connection current students to advertising industry professionals.

Some of King’s students, along with current and former colleagues, join in the celebration after she assumed the role of president of the AAA. King is seated in the front row. (Contributed photo)

“As much as I feel a part of Grady College and the University of Georgia, Dr. King feels a part of the Delta family,” said Tim Mapes (ABJ ’86), senior vice president and chief marketing & communications officer for Delta. “Dr. King has interacted with countless members of our advertising and corporate communications teams during student-led campaigns competitions and she embodies the open-minded, engaged, empathetic qualities we seek in our leaders here at Delta.  Not a day goes by at Delta in Atlanta that I do not draw upon my experiences in Athens.  In fact, I like to say that we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us in leading Delta.  Dr. King’s shoulders provided me with an unshakeable foundation on which to build our brand and the communications that support it.”

Karen King connects students to professionals. Here, she welcomes Marni Shapirio (ABJ ’96) back to Grady for the Kennedy Symposium.

King has been a Lilly Teaching Fellow and is a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor, UGA’s highest teaching honor, among other honors during her time at UGA.

“Karen King has been a strong voice to keep our advertising program a leader in the field,” said Bryan Reber, C. Richard Yarbrough Professor in Crisis Communication Leadership and department head of advertising and public relations. “In addition to being a great media strategy and campaigns teacher she has been a proponent of, and often volunteers to lead, extracurricular enrichment programs.  Such programs give students a competitive edge entering the profession. It seems her devotion to the advertising profession, advertising education, and the University of Georgia advertising major really knows no bounds.”

King has served in leadership roles in a variety of national advertising organizations including president of the American Academy of Advertising.

“Instead of writing some long, fawning quote about Dr. King, just imagine me hoisting her up on my shoulders, handing her twenty dozen long stem roses and then parading up and down Broad Street with tears streaming down my face,” said Jason Kreher (ABJ ’00), creative director for entertainment and editorial at Wieden + Kennedy. “That should give you a pretty accurate picture of how I feel about her retirement.”

King begins retirement August 1, 2020.

Leara Rhodes (ABJ ’72), associate professor of journalism, retires from Grady College after 26 years as a faculty member. She focused her instruction on magazine writing, management and design.

Leara Rhodes celebrates with Michaela Patafio (AB ’18) at senior sendoff in 2018. (Photo: Sarah E. Freeman/Grady College)

Rhodes was a freelance writer with published articles in many prominent magazines and newspapers. She also wrote for some of the nation’s largest businesses including Coca-Cola and Cox Communications. Rhodes authored three books including the latest, “Peace through Media.” She earned her bachelor’s degree from Grady College. Her master’s and doctoral degrees were completed at Temple University.

“Leara Rhodes, to many Grady students, is the face of narrative writing and of the world of magazines,” said Davis. “An eloquent, masterful wordsmith, her professional acumen and high standards help keep Grady journalism graduates at the top of their game. Leara’s selfless commitment to the college can be seen in so many facets of the program, from her advanced editing and production courses to her leadership in advancing issues of diversity and inclusion.”

One of Rhodes’ primary interests is the role media plays in societal development. She worked extensively in the Caribbean as a guiding resource for media outlets in the region. Recently, Rhodes launched “Caribbean Voices,” a podcast exploring the lifestyles and traditions of the Caribbean Basin.

Rhodes and students outside of Grady College in 2015.

“I can’t imagine the Journalism Department or Grady College without Leara Rhodes,” said Janice Hume, Carolyn McKenzie and Don E. Carter Chair for excellence in journalism and journalism department head. “She taught experiential classes long before it was trendy, launching more than 40 magazines in her classes. She mentored so many writing students who have gone on to successful magazine careers. Her research earned her the Haitian Studies Association’s Award for Service presented to those who contribute beyond the usual to the Haitian community. She has been a wonderful colleague. We will miss her, but wish her wonderful adventures to come.”

Former students say Rhodes became a mentor to them through the writing process and publication development.

“It’s hard for me to put into words the impact that Dr. Leara Rhodes has had on my life,” said Ramsey Nix (ABJ ’99, MA ’06), freelance writer and part time instructor at Grady College. “She continues to erect signposts at pivotal points in my journey. She creates connections. She opens doors. Leara has defined the role of mentor for me.”

Rhodes has published three books in addition to her many published articles.
(Photo: Sarah E. Freeman)

Rhodes was the Journalism Teacher of the Year at Grady College in 2006. She was awarded the first UGA diversity award for advancing UGA’s mission of diversity. In 2004, Rhodes received the Barry Bingham Sr. Fellowship from the National Conference of Editorial writers for work in attracting minority students. Rhodes was also a 2007-08 UGA Service Learning Fellow. She has used her experience and knowledge to help students work cohesively in the creation of new publications.

“Her mentorship taught me so much about how a publication works, how to edit stories and work with writers, how to lead a team, and about health communication as a field,” said Aashka Dave (ABJ ’15), Researcher/Community Manager for the Center for Civic Media at the MIT Media Lab. “Dr. Rhodes is so invested in her students, and I know other Grady classmates of mine feel similarly about the impact she had on our educations.”

Rhodes begins retirement June 1, 2020.

King Distinguished Professorship in Advertising established

The Karen W. and Daniel J. King Distinguished Professorship in Advertising has been created in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations, announced Charles N. Davis, dean of Grady College.

Karen King, a Jim Kennedy Professor of New Media and professor of advertising, has taught at Grady College for 35 years. She is retiring this summer.

“Karen King has been a mainstay at Grady College, winning awards for her teaching and research while serving as a department chair and as a respected senior faculty member,” Davis said. “Now she and Dan have added to the rich King legacy at Grady with this magnificent addition to the advertising faculty’s resources.”

The King Distinguished Professorship is created to help support the continued research and scholarship in advertising in the AdPR department.

“This professorship allows us to honor all of the outstanding advertising scholars and educators who came before me at Grady College such as Tom Russell, Len Reid, Dean Krugman and Spencer Tinkham,” Karen said. “It ensures that there will be senior advertising scholars on the faculty to benefit our graduate and undergraduate students, as well as the department.”

Earlier gifts from the Kings supported graduate students studying advertising and the Ron Lane Advertising Executive in Residency Fund.

In addition to Karen, Daniel taught briefly at Grady College, leading a law and public relations class.  Daniel, a lawyer, currently teaches an international arbitration class at the University of Georgia School of Law each spring.

Karen King has had an impact that has extended beyond UGA noted Bryan Reber, the C. Richard Yarbrough Professor of Crisis Communication Leadership and head of the AdPR department.

“As immediate past president of the American Academy of Advertising, Karen has broad influence and respect among advertising educators,” Reber said. “And, because of her prolific record of advising Ph.D. students, her former students carry on the King legacy in the U.S. and beyond.  This generous gift from Karen and Dan cements both this legacy and the place of advertising education and scholarship at the University of Georgia.  We are enormously grateful.”

At Grady College, Karen most recently taught classes in advertising media planning, advertising campaigns and advertising research. Her research focuses on advertising industry issues and health communication. She has published much of her work in leading academic journals and is the co-author of three editions of Kleppner’s “Advertising Procedure,” a leading advertising textbook and “The Media Buying Simulation” textbook supplement.

Karen has been a Lilly Teaching Fellow and is a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor, UGA’s highest teaching honor, among other honors during her time at UGA. Prior to teaching, Karen worked as a media buyer/planner and a research supervisor at FCB Communications, Inc. in Chicago.

Daniel is a retired partner of King & Spalding’s Atlanta and New York offices where he served as the leader of the firm’s Business Litigation Practice Group from 2003 to 2008. Since his retirement in 2010, Daniel has served on the boards of several non-profits including Goodwill of North Georgia, United Way of Greater Atlanta Advisory Board and the Georgia Technical College Foundation.

“Karen has filled these hallways with her energy and smiles since I was a graduate student at Grady, and generations of students honor her as their mentor,” Davis concluded. “This gift is one more way she will continue enriching students.”



Karen King appointed president of the American Academy of Advertising

Karen Whitehill King, a Jim Kennedy New Media Professor and professor of advertising, has been appointed president of the American Academy of Advertising.

“I am honored to serve as President of the American Academy of Advertising,” King said. “Members of the AAA are scholars and professionals interested in research and education in the advertising field. Many of us think of this organization as our academic and professional home.”

AAA’s mission is to be the home base for advertising scholars when it comes to academic growth, knowledge generation, global insight, networking and the shared mission of educating the next generation. The organization has many goals, including to emphasize the value of professional education for advertising, to coordinate efforts to advance advertising education and to develop closer liaison between academic disciplines.

To accomplish these goals, AAA unites its many diverse members to foster advertising research and to share their personal ideas and insights. The Academy then shares all of its findings to the advertising profession and to advertising educational programs. The AAA organization started in 1958 and now has more than 600 members.

Some of King’s students, along with current and former colleagues, join in the celebration after she assumed the role of president of the AAA. King is seated in the front row. (Contributed photo)

King has a notable history within AAA. In 2015, King was the recipient of the Charles H. Sandage Award for Teaching Excellence. This is a national award given by the American Academy of Advertising to recognize outstanding contributions to advertising teaching. She was also the editor of the 1994 Proceedings of the AAA Conference.

At UGA, King teaches advertising media planning, advertising campaigns and advertising research and focuses her research on advertising industry issues and health communication. She has published much of her work in leading academic journals and she has presented her work at numerous advertising, marketing and mass communication academic conferences.

Prior to joining the Grady College, King worked as a media buyer/planner and a research supervisor at Foote, Cone, and Belding Communications, Inc. in Chicago. King is also the co-author of three editions of Kleppner’s “Advertising Procedure,” a leading advertising textbook and “The Media Buying Simulation” textbook supplement.

At UGA, she has participated in the Lilly Teaching Fellows program and is a Meigs recipient, UGA’s highest teaching honor. She has been recognized for her work with UGA’s Ad Club and campaign competition team, being named the Donald G. Hileman Educator of the Year by the American Advertising Federation’s Seventh District in 1999. In September 2001, King was nominated to UGA’s Teaching Academy, which recognizes and promotes teaching excellence.

King succeeds Tom Reichert, former AdPR department head and current dean of the College of Information and Communications at the University of South Carolina, as AAA president.

Karen King named a Meigs Professor

Karen King, a professor of advertising and the Jim Kennedy Professor of New Media at Grady College, was one of five UGA faculty named a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor, the university’s highest recognition for excellence in instruction at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

“Karen King reflects the very best of the professoriate at a research university,” said Charles Davis, dean of Grady College. “She uses research to inform her teaching, teaches undergraduates as passionately as graduate students, and does it all while serving her profession, her university and her community in countless ways. All of Grady College cheered the news of her selection, because we’re all so fond of her.”

The Meigs Professorship underscores the university’s commitment to excellence in teaching, the value placed on the learning experiences of students and the centrality of instruction to the university’s mission. The award, sponsored by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, includes a permanent salary increase of $6,000 and a one-year discretionary fund of $1,000.

“Our Meigs Professors are exemplars of the University of Georgia’s commitment to providing students with unparalleled learning experiences,” said Pamela Whitten, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “They have made enduring impacts on their students as well as on the institution as a whole.”

Grady College is fortunate to have four other Meigs professors including James Hamilton, Carolina Acosta-Alzuru, Lynne Sallot and David Hazinski.

Other UGA faculty designated as 2016 Meigs Professors are:

·      Tim Foutz, a professor in the College of Engineering;

·      Stephanie Jones, a professor of educational theory and practice in the College of Education;

·      Rodney Mauricio, a professor of genetics in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences; and

·      Tim Smalley, an associate professor of horticulture in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

“I am humbled by this honor,” said King. “It is my good fortune to work with an amazing group of students and colleagues from whom I learn everyday.”

King has taught at Grady College more than 30 years. Most recently, she has worked to create innovative experiential learning opportunities for students, including the development of the Grady PHD Worldwide Scholars Program; the Performics AdWords Certification program; the Moxie Social Media Strategy Bootcamp; and the Grady/Turner Broadcasting partnership. She also led the development of the advertising and public relations 4 + 1 master’s program and has been involved in the development of international and online programs for the college and portions of the LG/Grady PR certificate and social media certificate programs.

King received the Charles H. Sandage Excellence in Teaching Award from the American Academy of Advertising in 2015 and the Donald G. Hileman Award as Educator of the Year for the Seventh District of the American Advertising Federation. She is a former Lilly Teaching Fellow and an inductee into the UGA Teaching Academy.

Prior to joining Grady College, she worked at Foote, Cone and Belding Communications, Inc. in Chicago as a media buyer/planner and a research supervisor.

Meigs Professors are nominated by their school or college and chosen by a committee consisting of 12 faculty members, two undergraduate students and one graduate student.

For more information about the Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professorships, see